Structured cabling practices are overseen by the “Big Kahuna” of all standards, ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B, Commercial Building Telecommunications Standard (which replaced the original TIA/EIA-568A in 2001). This specification was developed through the efforts of more than 60 contributing organizations, including manufacturers, end-users and consultants.
Our industry uses standards as a guideline to enable interoperability. The best known features or goals of the standards are to define cabling types, distances, connectors, cable system architectures, cable termination and performance characteristics, cable installation requirements and methods of testing installed cable.
Standards-built cable and connectivity products are designed to meet the minimum standards, which are defined as an open architecture. This means that any cable vendor’s products will work with any connectivity manufacturer’s patch panels, jacks and patch cords, as long as those individual components are built to meet the specified standard. And, when tested as a system (or channel), they will meet minimal channel parameters. Yet, sometimes meeting minimum is not quite good enough for emerging applications. Therefore, manufacturers have created technology partnerships to give customers better performance and increased warranties.
As an end user, specifier or installer, what should you be looking for in a structured cabling solution in regards to meeting (or exceeding) the TIA building standards.